[tex-live] TEXDOCVIEW_pdf ???

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Mon Aug 4 23:04:52 CEST 2008

Manuel Pégourié-Gonnard writes:
 > David Kastrup a écrit :
 > > The new names are not new names but established generic ones.
 > Oh really? Of course PAGER and BROWSER are well-know, nut for the others 
 > I searched a bit and didn't find any well-established name. I'm glad to 
 > learn that this choice is indeed well-established names.
 > Do you have references of other programs using it?
 > > Personally I'd prefer using the following hierarchy:
 > > 
 > > PDFVIEWER.texdoc
 > > TEXDOCVIEW_pdf (output warning message that it is deprecated)
 > > 
 > I'm not sure I see any use of PDFVIEWER.texdoc? Do you have something in 
 > mind?
 > >>> (Or something more elaborate, supporting variable settings in
 > >>> texmf.cnf).
 > > 
 > > The above scheme mimics texmf environment massaging apart from the
 > > middle bit...
 > > 
 > But, while I perfectly see what distincts TEXINPUTS.latex and 
 > TEXINPUTS.xelatex can be good for, I don't understand the purpose of 
 > PDFVIEWER.texdoc.  I mean, you generally have only one prefered viewer, 
 > don't you?

first of all, it seems that David has texmf.cnf settings in mind when
he suggests "PDFVIEWER.texdoc", right?

We had a long dicussion about this.  There is only one texmf.cnf file
for all platforms but not all browsers are available on all
platforms.  Not all users have the same preferences.  texmf.cnf is not
appropriate for per-user settings.

The result of this discussion was that there is a config file now.
This is the preferred way to customize texdoc.  See:


If you want to change anything, put only the variables you want to
change into $TEXMFHOME/texdoc/texdoc.cnf.  In multi-platform
environments you can have $TEXMFHOME/texdoc/texdoc-<platform>.cnf
which allows you to specify browsers for a particular platform.
<platform> is the name of the corresponding directory in bin/.

I usually discourage people from setting environment variables for
many reasons.


 > I mean, you generally have only one prefered viewer, don't you?

the old version of texdoc pointed me to the catalogue if no
documentation for a particular package had been found.  Though my
favourite html browser is firefox, I have TEXDOCVIEW_html='lynx %s' in
my environment.  It's quite nice because lynx starts immediately in
the terminal in which I run texdoc while firefox is quite clumsy.
When I really need another browser I can simply type:
TEXDOCVIEW_html='firefox %s' texdoc foo  


 > > The new names are not new names but established generic ones.

using them can be a problem.  People are not aware about env vars,
especially if they didn't define them themselves.  They might wonder
why changes in the config file have no effect if env vars overwrite
settings in the config file.  Hence I think it's better to stick with
the old vars (TEXDOCVIEW_html).  If they already exist, people had
set them deliberately and are aware of them.  I recommend to remove
these env vars though, it's cleaner to set them in the config file.

Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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